If you love spending time in the great outdoors, you probably want to bring your dog with you on your camping adventures. Camping with dogs takes a little extra planning, these tips will help you prepare your pup, and yourself, for a fun and safe trip.

Tips for Camping with Your Dog

Choose a dog-friendly campsite

Not all campgrounds allow dogs, you can check their pet policy on their websites. Many have dog-specific regulations, so you’ll need to check if your dog will be welcome on the trails and/or beaches, for example, in addition to the campsite.

Don’t leave your dog alone

Never leave your dog at your campsite alone while you go hiking or into town. To keep your dog safe, you should plan to keep them with you, and on a leash, at all times. Campgrounds are full of temptations for your pup, and most have leash requirements as well.

Your dog should sleep with you

Whether in a tent, RV, or car, your dog should sleep with you. You’re in the great outdoors and there’s no telling what type of wildlife your dog could encounter at night. Try to keep sleeping arrangements similar to home, if possible. If they sleep in a dog bed or crate, bring them along if you can. If they usually snuggle up with you, make sure your sleeping bag or air mattress can accommodate them.

Be sure your dog’s ID tags are up-to-date

It is important that your dog can be easily brought back to you if they get away. In addition to making sure their tags have current information and they are microchipped, consider adding a temporary tag with your campsite number and/or cell phone number. Also be sure to have a current picture of your dog on your cell phone, which probably isn’t a problem for most pet parents!

Preparing for camping

Camping can mean ticks, lots of mosquito bites, and potential injuries. Make sure your pup is up-to-date on their heartworm and tick/flea medications. Be sure to bring a dog first aid kit with your human supplies and check with your vet before you leave about mosquito sprays and/or itch relief sprays or ointments that can be used on your pup.

What to pack

The most obvious things to pack for your dog’s camping trip include a bowl (collapsible bowls are especially convenient), water, food (and you may need more than you think), poop bags and a dog first aid kit as mentioned above. You will also need a collar and/or harness and a leash. You may want an additional long leash for the campsite. Other considerations: a doggy backpack, a towel to dry off in case of rain or swimming, a dog brush, a tick key for removing ticks, a dog sleeping bag, and/or an LED collar light.

How to pack dog food for camping

Plan to store your dog’s food in a sturdy and waterproof storage box or bags. Bring more food than you think you’ll need as your dog will likely be doing more high-energy activities than usual. Packing a dry food, such as Raw Blend Kibble, is a great option for camping, as is Freeze-Dried Raw dog food, which has the additional advantage of being lightweight. And of course your pup will need treats for being a good boy or girl!

Plan dog-friendly camping activities

You enjoy spending time with your dog, so plan to make it fun for both of you. There are a lot of great dog-friendly camping activities, like hiking, going to the beach, canoeing, exploring, and playing!

Will your dog like camping?

Some dogs may not enjoy camping, or may make the experience more stressful for you. You may want to reconsider camping with your dog if any of the following apply:

Your dog barks a lot

If your dog barks at strange noises, or when anxious in new situations, camping may not be for them. Many campgrounds have barking ordinances and may ask you to leave if your dog barks excessively at night.

Your dog is aggressive around other dogs

Dogs from neighboring campsites may approach your dog, so this is an important consideration.

Your dog hates being on a leash

Most campgrounds are strict about keeping dogs on a leash, so if your dog doesn’t like leashes, camping may not be a fun experience for them.